It feels weird — almost nostalgic — to be excited about a new SM Entertainment boy group. After years of NCT-style tracks, the agency seems ready to turn a page with the newly-debuted Riize. Their pre-release Memories has grown on me over the weeks, anchored by a euphoric chorus that should inform their sound going forward. Get A Guitar is a fun little pop bauble, though it makes for a strange debut.
This song is aimed straight for my musical taste, laying down a sticky rhythm-guitar-meets-retro-synth backbone that fuels its every move. Add a heaping dose of lively vocal harmonies and you have a refreshing sound that bodes well for the future. This showmanship buttresses a series of fun melodies. My favorite comes during the pre-chorus, which plays more like a full-on centerpiece than a lead-in to the track’s funk breakdown. Riize’s performance is tight and exuberant. No single vocal stands out, but they make for a flashy unit.
I wish Get A Guitar didn’t hitch its wagon so firmly to the Radio DisneyBTS Dynamite school of innocuous fluff, as just a bit of edge could have pushed this into “instant classic” territory. I have a hard time stomaching the English lyrics (“If you want something to play with, get a guitar” feels very awkward), but I suppose this cheese is par for the course when you’re dealing with bubblegum pop. At least there’s no tough guy posturing or shout-chanting. Maybe the industry is finally ready to move on from those overused tropes. For now, I want to give Riize the benefit of the doubt and cross my fingers that they’ll continue to develop this bright, groovy sound throughout their debut year.